Diversity Scarce In AP Classes


East Forsyth High School is one of the most populated schools in the Winston-Salem/Forsyth County School district, serving approximately 2,000 students.  East Forsyth is also somewhat diverse, with approximately 21% and 16% of the students being African-American and Hispanic, respectively.  However, the school’s AP classes are the antithesis of that.

Only eight AP courses are available at East Forsyth this year:  Calculus, English Language, English Literature, Environmental Science, Human Geography, Psychology, US History, and World History.  No course has too many students, with AP Psychology having 148 among five classes.

Diversity in higher-level classrooms is a problem facing schools across the country, and East Forsyth is not exempt from this issue.

AP classes at East Forsyth average about 84.6% white, with 10.1% African American and 4.49% Hispanic.  Most classes have numbers that are very similar.  These numbers do not reflect the school-wide population.

While some classes undergo changes in diversity over years, they are generally minimal. AP World History, a course geared at freshmen, currently has 16 students — an increase of two compared to the 2013-2014 school year.  However, only two students are not white, the same amount as two years ago.

Many classes lack African-American or Hispanic students entirely.  The single AP Calculus class has no Hispanic students at all.  All 57 Human Geography students are white, despite having two African Americans and seven Hispanics last year.

Teachers generally agree that the lack of diversity in more advanced classes is a problem, but no one has a single solution.  Mrs. Whittington, who teaches Math III and Calculus, pushes for more minorities to take Pre-Calculus.  An honors class that leads into Calculus, 12.9% of the students taking Pre-Calculus are African-American, while 6.9% are Hispanic.

Mrs. Watson, who teaches Civics and Economics, says that she recognizes when a student is in a lower level class, but displays higher levels of intelligence.  She tries to recommend these students to honors or to AP US History if she feels they can handle it.

It is absurd that sixty-one years after the Supreme Court ruled on Brown v. Board of Education, inequality runs rampant in the public school systems.  When less than 20% of students in challenging courses are of color, it is simply a more mild, watered down version of segregation.

Categories: NEWS, School News

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